The Via Rhona is the 815km bike route down the Rhone River Valley from the Alps in Geneva, through the vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone, past olive and lavender fields in Provence to eventually arrive at the wild stretches of Camargue on the Mediterranean . Clearly marked and signposted, the Via Rhona is mostly greenways or quiet country roads. The prevailing wind is from the North – including the Mistral. ALWAYS ride North to South !! Plan your trip accordingly.
We recommend you either fly into Geneva and get the train to Lyon or fly straight to Lyon International. Between Geneva and Lyon, the route is quite hilly and still being developed – it is viable but not as hassle free as from Lyon to the Med.
Lyon , ancient Lugdunum, is the largest city on the route and is definitely not to be missed. Cathedrals, Roman ruins, fantastic squares and a French “Buzz” all linked via pedestrian & bike only streets – or marked bike lanes.
A easy day’s ride to the south of Lyon are the twin villages of Vienne and Saint-Roman-en-Gal with their amazing Roman buildings and huge archaeological site. The museum is worth spending time in.
Tournon-sûr-Rhône is a friendly charming village with a great museum in the Chateaux and, across the river, Tain-l’Hermitage has a steep ride to a vantage point with views up and down the Rhone Valley. The ride down the winding roads is so-much-fun!
From Tournon-sur-Rhone, ride the short 5K to St.Jean Mussol where you can catch the steamtrain to Lamaste (special carriages carry bikes and riders) and then ride the almost 100k of greenway of the La Dolce Via down the valleys of the wild and spectacular Ardeche back to rejoin the Rhone at LaVoulte-sur-Rhone. Not to be missed!
Valence – Known as the gateway to the south of France, Valence is squeezed between the Ardech in the West and the Vercours in the East. There are a number of lovely marked bike trails around the city and into the mountains – it is also a short link along the Via Rhona to transfer onto the Isere river ride.
Orange – Just Jaw Dropping as you walk around the lovely pedestrian streets and then, there right in front of you, is the stupendous best preserved Roman Theatre in Europe. The sheer enormity of the stage wall is mind boggling. A steep, but ultimately worthwhile, walk up behind the theatre brings you out to a park with fantastic views of the theatre, Orange itself and the varied mountain ranges in different directions.
Avignon -The “City of the Pope” has so much to see. Highlights include ; the Pope’s Palance, the Cathedral, St. Benezet Bridge, Rue de la Republique and Place de l’Horloge.
Tarescon and Beaucaire are sister towns set on either side of the Rhone. Beaucaire has a large and busy port for canal boats while Tarescon has an impressive castle right of the Rhone which you can spend hours exploring.
Arles – Arles is a vibrant town with lots to see and do. It was a very important town in Roman times and is home to a magnificent Roman arena and Theatre complex. An impressive museum built on the site of the old hippodrome has a number of models of building in the town and a complete roman ship dug up from the bottom of the river.
Once you get to Arles, you can continue to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone to reach the Mediterranean. You can catch the TGV back to Lyon or Geneva from either Arles or Avignon.
Here is a 2.5minute video of some highlights from our tours down the Via Rhona.